Marc Emery's US Prison Blog #19 - Heading for Georgia
Dearest Jodie: Last Thursday at 10am in Nevada Southern Detention Centre, a guard said, "Emery, roll up!", which meant I was outbound. I was taken with about 100 others to a series of tiny cells, where I waited until 3am (17 hours) to be chained with leg irons and handcuffs secured to a chain around my stomach, then put on a bus to Las Vegas airport.
We were at the airport at 7am but the ConAir plane didn't arrive till around 10:30am. Still in chains, we were boarded onto the plane at around noon. I was the only Canadian. The plane first flew to Arizona and landed to let off prisoners going to Arizona federal prisons, and picked up more prisoners. The plane has room for over 200 prisoners. Then, still chained, we flew to Oklahoma City, the processing hub of the Bureau of Prisons, where we arrived around 5:30pm (central time) and were unchained during intake.
That was over 12 hours being chained up, often to another prisoner. Intake took about six hours of mostly monotonous waiting, and by Friday at midnight I was one person in a two-man cell in unit E5 at El Reno, OK processing. It took 36 hours from "Roll up" to arrival in my cell here, a grueling experience.
I have been here six days now and may be shipped off any day toward my new designated privately-run prison, D. Ray James Correctional Facility in Folkston, Georgia. It’s an INS (Immigration & Naturalization Services) low security federal prison for "deportable aliens", which are non-US citizens. It used to be a state prison, but was closed and taken over by the prison industry giant, GEO Group, and turned into an INS low security facility. I was supposed to be sent to Taft FCI in California, but the BOP has changed it to send me as far away from you as possible.
Still, I really would like to get there so I can receive mail, my magazine subscriptions, do my transfer application back into the Canadian correctional system, and most of all, get visits from you every other weekend. I miss you more than anything in this hard and tough existence. I have been in prison eight months now, and it’s only because of you that I have made it, I'm sure.
Your visits to me will stretch across as long a path across America as is possible: Vancouver to Seattle, to Jacksonville in Florida, then a drive north into Georgia from there. The cost isn't that much greater, just the time in the air. I'm glad my friend Loretta Nall will sometimes be meeting up with you and accompanying you to the prison I'll be at, or your friend and employee, CC ad manager Britney, will be with you. The visits are going to be like at Sea-Tac FDC, so we can hold hands and I can kiss you at the beginning and end of the visit, and they may even be all-day visits (9am to 3pm) from what I can deduce, so I am so excited to be able to do that.
It’s unlikely there will be Corrlinks messaging there, but I’m happy to have it here at this Oklahoma City transfer facility. Corrlinks is so vital to keeping in touch with family and friends; it really does go a long way to making prison bearable. But I will finally be settled in and able to receive and write letters in Georgia. I was able to write to six of eight people I received letters from at Nevada Southern Detention Center, and feel bad I got shipped out before I was able to write to Trevor in Pennsylvania, who helped out on the Washington DC “Free Marc Emery” water bottle campaign event on October 30 at the Stewart/Colbert “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear”, or my good friend Howard Ulep, also in Pennsylvania, who writes me wonderful letters regularly.
I'm pleased to see the Canucks are at the top of their hockey division (Britney wrote me with updates), but I tell you, news was scarce until I got on Corrlinks today. I haven't seen a newspaper or magazine in a month. I miss my subscription to Macleans; it is a great Canadian magazine and kept me up to date on my own country. I hope you can have all my magazines rerouted to D. Ray James soon after my arrival. I hope they deliver USA Today, the Atlanta Constitution, and hopefully the New York Times at the prison there. Hopefully it’s not too remote to get newspaper subscriptions!
The food here is very poor, and I look forward to ordering commissary at D. Ray James to supplement my diet. Sea-Tac FDC was a pretty good place in comparison with my experiences since, as I always had enough fruit there to maintain good regular health. Since then, I’ve had very little fruit, although Nevada Southern had some fresh vegetables with most meals.
I am impressed by your terrific blog of your experience campaigning for Proposition 19 in Oakland, which you read over the phone to me, as well as Catherine Leach's great blog on the “Free Marc Emery” water handout and info event in Washington, DC that she and her husband Keith pulled off for you.
Your letters to me of November 11, 12 and 13 are so wonderful in the detail you put in. They are like listening to you talk to me in loving words and details across the universe in perfect clarity. Many times, like now, when I think of you and our great love, I want to break down and cry (and I often do), but you reassure me when you can and I pull myself together and pray for the better times ahead when we are reunited once again.
I have read two light fiction books: “Next week will be better” by Jean Ruryk, and Alexander McCall Smith's particularly good “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is about this African woman in Botswana who sets up a detective agency, and is delightfully written. The romance of Botswana is quite affecting. There are five more in the series I'm hoping you'll send me at some point. The Jean Ruryk novel is a sort of mystery that takes place around flea markets, and since I went to estate auctions and flea markets for years from 1975 to 1985 in London, Ontario when I was a bookseller and curio dealer, I found her situational detective story taking place largely at these kind of venues familiar and entertaining in her observations.
Since I was connected on Corrlinks yesterday, I have read many of the articles from the CC website Jeremiah emailed me, and Russ Bellville's "10 Lessons from Prop 19's Defeat" is terrific. Russ Bellville is a great writer and a genuine treasure for our movement. All his writings are exceptional insights and I do hope CC continues to carry the work he writes for NORML.
Eight months in prison is a long and very challenging experience, but so far I have gotten through it. I hope that in 12 months from now I am in Canada, getting released on parole as the law today would apply, and able to be home with you for Christmas. For that to happen I need political support in Canada and the US for approval from both the US Department of Justice and the Canadian Ministry of Public Safety.
I'm hoping my American supporters will arrange meetings with any elected officials they know well and urge them to join the letters prepared for the governments in Canada and the US, and also have Canadians meet with their representatives for the same purpose. I dearly need their help in this regard if I am going to be able to be repatriated back to Canada. I’m hoping former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and Texas Congressman Ron Paul will endorse our request for my return to Canada, along with other Congressmen and legislators in America, in addition to the many Canadian public officials who are already signatories to these two letters. I know you will do all you can for me to get home!
I hope you will be visiting me soon. My dearest wish is to see you.
My sweetest love, to my great soul mate,
Latest video update from Jodie Emery about Marc: